“Teaching Your Little Sprouts,” Ensign, Apr. 1982, 64
A family garden is a good way to help children learn responsibility, persistence, and the satisfaction of producing good things by their own labor. Younger children, however, are often ill prepared for the responsibility of a garden. They often have very little patience and do not understand all that is involved in gardening (planting, weeding, watering, etc.). What they need is something to spark their interest.
One exciting gardening activity that is easy for small children to participate in is sprout-growing. Sprouts give you quick results and yet require no sunlight, no soil, and practically no work—and that makes them ideal for busy mothers and young families.
One of the best kinds of seed for sprouting is mung beans. They can easily be sprouted in a large wide-mouth jar (preferably amber-colored to keep out light) covered with an old nylon stocking secured by a rubber band. In some countries, commercially produced sprout-growers are available at garden shops.
Just fill the jar half full of water and soak the seeds in it for about twelve hours. Then drain the water off and lay the jar on its side out of direct sunlight. (If you are using a jar made of untinted glass, keep it in a dark cupboard.) Let the children rinse the seeds and drain off the water two or three times a day for the next three to five days. Then open the jar, and voila! your own home-grown bean sprouts are ready to eat. One-quarter cup of seeds yields one or two cups of sprouts.
Bean sprouts are highly nutritious and delicious in salads and oriental dishes. The green sprout shells are edible and delicious but can be easily rinsed off if desired.
The speed with which bean sprouts become fully developed means that children receive almost instant gratification for their work, and the small amount of care they require makes them perfect for parents who want to teach children beginning gardening skills. Jackie Baclawski, Claremont, California